Posts Tagged ‘West India Docks’

West India – North Dock 1988

Sunday, November 21st, 2021

The Ledger Building,  Hertsmere Rd, West India Docks, Poplar, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-6c-52-positive_2400
The Ledger Building, Hertsmere Rd, West India Docks, Poplar, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-6c-52

The Offices of the West India Docks an Hertsmere Rd at the west corner of what was the Import Dock of the West India Docks and were Grade I listed in 1950 together with the adjoining warehouses. They were built in 1803 , architect George Gwilt and converted to hold the dock ledgers by John Rennie, who added the portico in 1827.

In 2000 it was converted into a Wetherspoon pub, the Ledger Office and can be visited during normal opening hours and displays some information about the history of the docks which can be read while drinking a cheap pint.

Warehouses, Hertsmere Rd, West India Docks, Poplar, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-6c-53-positive_2400
Warehouses, Hertsmere Rd, West India Docks, Poplar, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-6c-53

These listed warehouses are now converted for various uses including the Museum of London Docklands which has both permanent and temporary displays on the history of the River Thames, the growth of Port of London and the docks historical link to the Atlantic slave trade, in which this building, a sugar warehouse, played an important role. Temporary exhibitions there have included some of my pictures including in the show ‘Estuary‘ celebrating the museum’s 10th anniversary in 2013

Warehouses, Hertsmere Rd, West India Docks, Poplar, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-6c-55-positive_2400
Warehouses, Hertsmere Rd, West India Docks, Poplar, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-6c-55

The area has been opened up by the removal of the dockside sheds and is now a popular tourist venue, though it has lost most of its previous allure. But it’s still an interesting area, both for the old and the new buildings.

Crane, West India Quay, Poplar, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-6c-44-positive_2400
Crane, West India Quay, Poplar, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-6c-44

Two dockside cranes remain on the side of the dock, close to West India Quay DLR station, perhaps left there to divert attention from a rather hideous hotel building to their north.

Bridge, West India Quay, Poplar, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-6c-45-positive_2400
Bridge, West India Quay, Poplar, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-6c-45-positive_2400

This picture taken I think from more or less underneath the DLR which goes across the North (Import) Dock gives some impression of the scale of the West India Docks , which I think when constructed in 1800-1806 were I think the largest enclosed high-security docks in the world – and a model for later docks elsewhere.

This dock now looks considerably smaller, with around half of its width taken up by a strange building on top of a new Crossrail station, looking to me rather like a woodlouse. Nothing in this picture remains except the listed dock wall at bottom left (and possibly the bollard on it.)

Bridge, West India Quay, Poplar, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-6c-46-positive_2400
Bridge, West India Quay, Poplar, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-6c-46-positive_2400

I think this bridge, built from what looks suspiciously like Meccano, was the Great Wharf Road Bridge, later replaced by what was intended as a more permanent structure as the Upper Bank Street Bridge. I can find no information about it on-line, but it appears to have a central lifting section with heavy counterweights in those four towers. That more permanent bridge was removed for the construction of the Crossrail station in 2012 and a new, much shorter bridge was built in five sections in Belgium by Hollandia and welded together in situ in, opening in 2020.

Docklands Light Railway, Poplar, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-6c-32-positive_2400
Docklands Light Railway, Poplar, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-6c-32

It was time to leave Docklands for home, and together with my two young assistants we got on the DLR, sitting right at the front of the train. This view from the front window as the train had just left Poplar Station and about to cross Aspen Way shows dockland cranes at left and St Anne’s Limehouse at right. Then DLR trains were single two-carriage units like the Stratford service in this picture.

This is the final part of posts here about my pictures from my walk around the docks on the Isle of Dogs in June 1988.

Click on any of the pictures to see a larger version in my album 1988 London Photos, from where you can browse the album. The pictures there are largely ordered by my negative reference numbers, which do not in detail reflect the order in which the pictures were taken used in the posts here.


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North Pole & Heron Quay

Saturday, November 20th, 2021

The North Pole, Manilla Street, Millwall, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-6b-22-positive_2400
The North Pole, Manilla Street, Millwall, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-6b-22

Continuing my walk around the West India Docks I walked down from Marsh Wall to Manilla St, where I think you can still find The North Pole, a beer house built in the 1860s, on the corner at No 74. It closed as a pub in 2014, and I suspect the building’s days are numbered.

Cuba St, Millwall, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-6b-23-positive_2400
Cuba St, Millwall, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-6b-23

Nothing, or almost nothing in this picture of Cuba St has survived the redevelopment of this street on the fringe of the West India Docks. In the far distance you can just make out the distinctive frontage of the building on the corner of Cuba St and Westferry Road, the first few feet of which have been incorporated into a modern red-brick block and is now an Indian Restaurant. It seems to be much more than the usual facade, with the older building integrated into the development, Regatta Point, which is on a rather smaller scale than much of the new building, only 5 storeys of shops with flats above.

Docklands Enterprise, Wendy Ann Taylor, Sculpture, Heron Quays, Marsh Wall, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-6b-24-positive_2400
Docklands Enterprise, Wendy Ann Taylor, Sculpture, South Dock, Marsh Wall, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-6b-24

Wendy Ann Taylor, born 1945 claims to have been as one of the first artists of her generation to “take art out of the galleries and onto the streets”’ and has made a number of sculptures around London and in several of the new towns. This sculpture was commissioned by the LDDC and the Docklands Business Club and dates from 1987. It is still in place, although everything in the background of this picture has been replaced by newer and much taller developments. I took the shape emaphasised in my picture and repeated at right angles in her work as representing the river around the Isle of Dogs and the vertical as enterprise reaching for the sky.

Heron Quay, DLR, Middle Dock, West India Docks, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-6b-14-positive_2400
Heron Quay, DLR, South Dock, West India Docks, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-6b-14

You can still just about see the DLR as it goes across South Dock here but Heron Quay station is now completely engulfed in tall office blocks, the water now looking enclosed rather than open as it was. The distant gasholder at right at Greenwich has also now gone, though long invisible from here.

Heron Quay, West India Docks, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-6c-63-positive_2400
Heron Quay, South Dock, West India Docks, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-6c-63

I think it is a long time since any boats were moored here.

Heron Quay, West India Docks, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-6c-65-positive_2400
Heron Quay, West India Docks, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-6c-65

This picture is looking along Middle Dock, with the north side of the buildings, long demolished, of Heron Quay at right.

I continued my walk to the North Dock – and a few pictures in a later post.

Click on any of the pictures to see a larger version in my album 1988 London Photos, from where you can browse the album. The pictures there are largely ordered by my negative reference numbers, which do not in detail reflect the order in which the pictures were taken used in the posts here.


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All photographs on this page are copyright © Peter Marshall. Contact me to buy prints or licence to reproduce.


West India Docks 1988 (2)

Saturday, November 13th, 2021

SS Robin, South Dock, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-6b-44-positive_2400
SS Robin, South Dock, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-6b-44

SS Robin is a 350 gross ton steam coaster built by Mackenzie, MacAlpine & Co at their Orchard House Yard in Bow Creek in 1890 and the only complete Victorian steam ship in existence. She still has the original steam engine fitted in Dundee by Gourlay Brothers & Co.

In 1900 she was renamed Maria and spent the next 74 years working around Spain for several Spanish owners, and in 1966 some extensive alterations were made. When about to be scrapped in 1974 she was bought by the Maritime Trust, her original name restored and treated to an extensive restoration in Rochester before coming to St Katharine’s Docks in London and opened to the public as a part of their Historic Ships Collection. After this closed in 1986, along with several other vessels from the collection Robin was laid up here in the West India Docks. You can see the stern of the Yarmouth Steam Drifter Lydia Eva at the right.

In 2000 Robin was sold for £1 and later the SS Robin Trust was set up to restore the vessel, an expensive and lengthy process and eventually it was decided necessary to put the vessel on a pontoon. The SS Robin museum, theatre and educational centre is now in the Royal Victoria Dock.

DLR, BT, Quay House, Admirals Way, South Quay, Tower Hamlets, 198888-6b-45-positive_2400
DLR, BT, Quay House, Admirals Way, South Quay, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-6b-45

Quay House, a three storey office block built in 1986-7 was occupied by BT. Empty for some years, planning permission was obtained in 2020 for the 40-storey Quay House waterfront development including a 400-bedroom hotel and 279 serviced apartments alongside dockside leisure facilities.

South Dock, Heron Quays, Marsh Wall, Tower Hamlets, 1988  88-6b-46-positive_2400
South Dock, Heron Quays, Marsh Wall, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-6b-46

The Survey of London describes these low rise buildings as “high-tech ‘cabins’ or ‘Swiss chalets’, with light steel structures, covered with red, purple and blue-grey vitreous enamel panels, while the monopitch roofs are clad in aluminium” and says they were part of a large scheme for the area begun in 1981 and built in 1984-9.

I think this is now the site of 1 Bank Street, a 28 floor office block completed in 2019.

BT, South Dock, Admirals Way, South Quay, Tower Hamlets, 1988  88-6b-31-positive_2400
BT, South Dock, Admirals Way, South Quay, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-6b-31

The front of the BT Business Centre on South Dock.

DLR, South Dock, Admirals Way, South Quay, Tower Hamlets, 1988  88-6b-32-positive_2400
DLR, South Dock, Admirals Way, South Quay, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-6b-32

Taken from more or less the same place as the previous picture and that below, this is where the DLR crosses the South Dock of the West India Docks, looking towards Heron Quays station. It shows how little development there was here in 1988.

DLR, BT, South Dock, Admirals Way, South Quay, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-6b-33-positive_2400
DLR, BT, South Dock, Admirals Way, South Quay, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-6b-33

Looking back at the curve of the DLR around Quay house towards Marsh Wall.

London River Man, John W Mills, sculpture, Ensign House, Marsh Wall, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-6b-35-positive_2400
London River Man, John W Mills, sculpture, Ensign House, Marsh Wall, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-6b-35

London River ManJohn W Mills ARCA FRBS 1987. This sculpture salutes all London river workers – toshers – bargees – dockers – ale tasters – coalheavers – ferrymen” and is rather hidden now on Marsh Wall. It is rather less than lifesize. John Mills (b1933) is better known for his Whitehall memorial to the women of World War II.

Admirals Way,  South Dock,  South Quay, Tower Hamlets 88-6b-36-positive_2400
Admirals Way, South Dock, South Quay, Tower Hamlets 88-6b-36

This is Waterside, where these buildings, described as small-business apartments were built in 1985-6. They are still there, looking much the same, though probably for not much longer.

BT,  Admirals Way, South Quay, Tower Hamlets, 1988  88-6b-21-positive_2400
BT, Admirals Way, South Quay, Tower Hamlets, 1988 88-6b-21

A final picture of the British Telecom Business Centre – and what was presumably its main entrance.

More from around the West India Docks in a later post. Click on any of the pictures to see larger versions of any of them in the album 1988 London Photos from where you can browse other images.


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More from Page 5

Wednesday, May 27th, 2020

The previous post Page 5 of my London 1986 pictures looked at some from Hoxton and Islington and there were many more in the album that in my post, including a number form Shoreditch. Later in July I returned to Wapping, Shadwell, Limehouse and the West India Docks with a few other images from Greenwich, Finsbury and the City.

New Crane Wharf, Wapping, Tower Hamlets 86-7i-23_2400
New Crane Wharf, Wapping
Gun Wharves, Wapping,  Tower Hamlets         86-7i-32  Thames foreshore, Wapping High St, W 86-7i-31_2400
Gun Wharves, Wapping
Rotherhithe from Wapping, Tower Hamlets v 86-7i-35_2400
Rotherhithe from Wapping
Limehouse Dock entrance, Limehouse, Tower Hamlets 86-7j-46_2400
Limehouse Dock entrance
Limehouse Dock, Limehouse Cut, Limehouse, Tower Hamlets 86-7j-51_2400
Limehouse Dock
West India Dock, Isle of Dogs, Tower Hamlets  86-7k-65_2400
West India Docks

These are just a few of my favourite pictures from the 100 on page 5 of my Flickr album of pictures I made in London in 1986. Clicking on any image will take you to a larger version on Flickr.


All photographs on this and my other sites, unless otherwise stated, are taken by and copyright of Peter Marshall, and are available for reproduction or can be bought as prints.